An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't

An Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned but Probably Didn't

2.7 48
by Judy Jones, William Wilson
     
 

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When it was originally published in 1987, An Incomplete Education became a surprise bestseller. Now this instant classic has been completely updated, outfitted with a whole new arsenal of indispensable knowledge on global affairs, popular culture, economic trends, scientific principles, and modern arts. Here’s your chance to brush up on all those subjects you

Overview

When it was originally published in 1987, An Incomplete Education became a surprise bestseller. Now this instant classic has been completely updated, outfitted with a whole new arsenal of indispensable knowledge on global affairs, popular culture, economic trends, scientific principles, and modern arts. Here’s your chance to brush up on all those subjects you slept through in school, reacquaint yourself with all the facts you once knew (then promptly forgot), catch up on major developments in the world today, and become the Renaissance man or woman you always knew you could be!

How do you tell the Balkans from the Caucasus? What’s the difference between fission and fusion? Whigs and Tories? Shiites and Sunnis? Deduction and induction? Why aren’t all Shakespearean comedies necessarily thigh-slappers? What are transcendental numbers and what are they good for? What really happened in Plato’s cave? Is postmodernism dead or just having a bad hair day? And for extra credit, when should you use the adjective continual and when should you use continuous?

An Incomplete Education answers these and thousands of other questions with incomparable wit, style, and clarity. American Studies, Art History, Economics, Film, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Science, and World History: Here’s the bottom line on each of these major disciplines, distilled to its essence and served up with consummate flair.

In this revised edition you’ll find a vitally expanded treatment of international issues, reflecting the seismic geopolitical upheavals of the past decade, from economic free-fall in South America to Central Africa’s world war, and from violent radicalization in the Muslim world to the crucial trade agreements that are defining globalization for the twenty-first century. And don’t forget to read the section A Nervous American’s Guide to Living and Loving on Five Continents before you answer a personal ad in the International Herald Tribune.

As delightful as it is illuminating, An Incomplete Education packs ten thousand years of culture into a single superbly readable volume. This is a book to celebrate, to share, to give and receive, to pore over and browse through, and to return to again and again.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for An Incomplete Education

“AN ASTONISHING AMOUNT OF INFORMATION.”
–The New York Times

“IT IS PRECISELY THE BOOK THAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED WITHOUT KNOWING THAT I ALWAYS WANTED IT. . . . It’s for people who have huge gaps in their knowledge of specific areas of culture and intellectual history. . . . Cheerfully, subversively anti-academic.”
–Jon Carrol, San Francisco Chronicle

“MEMORIZE THIS BOOK AND YOU CAN DROP NAMES, ALLUSIONS, AND ARCANE TERMS WITH THE BEST OF THEM, whether you (or they) know what they’re talking about. . . . The book will rekindle warm memories of your favorite courses, favorite professors, favorite books, favorite theories, favorite philosophical paradoxes.”
–Chicago Tribune

“RUSH TO YOUR NEAREST BOOKSTORE AND BUY An Incomplete Education. . . . [It] brings you 10,000 years of information. Imagine the power of knowing where Watteau went when the lights went out!”
–New York Daily News

“ARTICULATE AND IRREVERENT, crammed with facts, figures, drawings, definitions, and historic information sufficient to fill your every gap. . . . Judy Jones and William Wilson . . . tell you everything you should’ve learned but didn’t.
–Esquire

“THIS BOOK GETS AN A+.”
–The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Library Journal
The update of a classic that has sold a half-million copies. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Jennifer Henderson
"An Incomplete Education" was first published in 1987, but this book has been completely updated, making it tremendously useful. Arranged around college departments, it strives to fill in learning gaps in American studies, art history, economics, film, literature, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, science, and world history. Authors Jones and Wilson reacquaint readers with the essence of complex issues, controversial personalities, and current political trends in a lively, enticing manner. They grab your intellect with flashing wit while discussing topics as wide ranging as "what you need to know if you're dating an Ethiopian" ; Shintoism, "the Hammacher-Schlemmer of Eastern religions" ; and differences between symbiosis, synapse, and synergy. Can't keep those French monarchs straight? Check out the "Louis, Louis" list for insights into the lives and loves of rulers XIII to XVI. Whether you're pondering the relevance of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," opera through the ages, or aspects of fauvism, this book is an invaluable reference.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345468901
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/25/2006
Edition description:
3RD
Pages:
720
Sales rank:
185,213
Product dimensions:
7.72(w) x 6.53(h) x 1.74(d)

Meet the Author

Judy Jones is a freelance writer who lives in Princeton, New Jersey. William Wilson was also a freelance writer. Wilson went to Yale and Jones to Smith, but both have maintained that they got their real educations in the process of writing this book. William Wilson died in 1999.

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An Incomplete Education: From Plato's Cave to Planck's Constant...Einstein to Gertrude Stein...Twelfth Night to Twelve-Tone Theory...Half-Life to the 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
Sloth-SHS65 More than 1 year ago
I am typically drawn to these tid-bit style books. I enjoy reading useless and sometimes entertaining bits and pieces. So with that proclivity, I was given this as a gift. While it has it's moments this is basically disjointed, disorganized and uninteresting. A lot of what appears in here is opinion based. I don't read these type of books for opinion. This is like a "best of" list book in parts. I don't care to read someone else's opinion on insignificant things. I cannot urge anyone to buy this mess.
CosMcKidd More than 1 year ago
I really like the book. I think the author's sense of humor is fun. Obviously the book doesn't cover every subject in great detail but it certainly opened my mind to new concepts and gave me enough information to do my own study in greater depth on the subjects I found interesting. I bought this book in anticipation of being on a quiz show. I didn't make the cut for the show but I was very pleased with the new things I learned from this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I attended one of the best colleges in the country, one that is known for its so-called Common Core Curriculum, which should have educated all of us in the basics. Somehow I still managed to lack tons of information that I think that an educated person should know. I ran across this book and read about a tenth of it. That was enough to make me want to buy it, which I am doing today. I read the review from the reviewer who accused the writers of being homophobic and focusing on this aspect of their personalities in an unfair way. In the roughly tenth of the book that I have read, I found no mention at all of homosexuality of any kind, and suspect that the reviewer has a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very well written to be easy and fun to read in small bites, a good conversation starter.
scrtwpn More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was addicting the amount of information they were throwing at you. They make it easy to skip around to topics that interest you most. The authors actually have a sense of humor which makes for absorbing all this information a little easier and entertaining. I would have liked for a little more detail and more clarification on some issues. Sometimes it did seem like the authors expect you to already have common knowledge on certain subjects which made their explanation a little confusing. But otherwise, I appreciated how the authors compared what you learned in high school to what you should have learned instead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here as rebels you are chosing to not stand for the rituals of wereclan you may help your self in the forest an when you arrive your tree hut will be furbished an built.....Rebela the leader of rebels out!"*dissapears as her hologram an note is left*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, a lot of harsh criticism of this book. The original 1987 edition was in my family's library when I was a child, and I have fond memories of perusing through this book enough that I probably read the whole thing 2 or 3 times in small doses at a time. Even being that young, I could tell this book has a strongly humorous bent and doesn't take itself too seriously, and neither should the reader. It's not designed to be a heavy-duty, ultra authoritative compendium of human culture. That said, it does offer a lot of interesting tidbits of knowledge (and opinion) to casual readers. It won't turn anybody into a scholar,  it's just meant to be a fun book that can help give a reader a little bit of well-roundedness if they can read it with some objectivity. Because of this book, I have had a handy and easy-to-read reference point for learning a little bit about philosophy, film history, etc. Lighten up, folks. And please remember, the key word here is "incomplete". I think some reviewers here have set the bar way too high.  
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General info for a rainy day read! Do not need to sit down and read at one sitting!
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MercerLaw96 More than 1 year ago
Not as comprehensive as I had hoped (and too "preachy" on some points). Could have been better organized and given a broader view of the areas it purports to cover.
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